Best Buy To Push VR Headsets Into Mainstream

What Happened
Best Buy will be shining a spotlight on Facebook’s Oculus Rift during the upcoming holiday shopping season. The consumer electronics retail chain will be putting Oculus headsets in 500 stores nationwide in what is considered as the first mainstream push for consumer-facing VR products.  Best Buy started rolling out in-store demonstrations for Oculus Rift headsets in May and also has 200 demos for Sony’s PlayStation VR in rotation between locations.   

What Brands Need To Do
With consumers becoming increasingly familiar with VR and 360-degree video content and now Best Buy reading to push VR headsets into the mainstream consumer market, it is time for brands to start working with content creators to develop interesting branded VR content that appeals to target audiences.

The Lab currently has four VR headsets — an Oculus Rift, an HTC Vive, and two Samsung Gear VRs — ready for demos. Virtual reality is something that has to be experienced to be understood, so come by the Lab and ask for a VR demo to get a hands-on experience and figure out how your brand can use it to excite and engage with consumers.


Source: AdAge

On Trend: How Ecommerce Is Eroding Black Friday

Amazon might have just severely undermined the cultural relevance of Black Friday.

On Wednesday, the ecommerce giant announced its plan to start offering its Black Friday deals on Nov. 20 – a full week ahead of Black Friday. Amazon Prime members will be granted a half-hour earlier access to many deals than the general public. Facing pressure from Amazon’s aggressively proactive approach, traditional retailers like Best Buy, Toys “R” Us, Kmart, and Sears are all starting their Black Friday sales early this year so as not to be left out.

More importantly, as more and more people start shopping online and taking advantage of easier comparison shopping, most retailers are now offering the same Black Friday deals online, giving customers less incentive to visit the store. No more lining up for the doorbusters at Walmart this year, as the retail giant has opted to provide nearly all of its deals both online and in stores, with the online deals becoming available at midnight on Thanksgiving day, 18 hours before the stores open.  

Overall, the disruption ecommerce has caused what analysts call the “graying” of Black Friday, where holiday sales start earlier and are spread out evenly throughout the holiday, thus making Black Friday less relevant. For retailers, this means a longer holiday sales period that starts earlier. Some retailers, such as Amazon and Toy “R” Us, are offering their loyalty program members early access, which creates smart sales windowing to incentivize the shoppers.

Besides starting early and rewarding loyal fans with early access, retailers should also consider making a push for mobile shopping this year. Amazon, for example, plans to offer a slew of mobile-only deals in hopes of driving more consumers to its app. Using mobile-exclusive deals to incentivize more shoppers to download branded retail apps can help retailers establish a digital touchpoint on shoppers’ smartphones, allowing them to connect with shoppers on the go. Apps can also provide consumer data for retailers to learn valuable insights into consumer insights.

Ecommerce may be eroding Black Friday’s importance as the biggest annual sales event, but it is also what will help retailers to reach today’s connected consumers and stay relevant in the long run.


Showroomers Flock To Amazon

A new study about the increasingly common practice of showrooming – experimenting with products in-store while comparing prices in real time and purchasing the item later, at home, for less money – indicates that many users who engage in this practice head straight to Amazon to make their final purchase. In fact, 57% of showroomers chose the massive online marketplace, while only 3% were likely to try eBay or Walmart. During the 2012 holiday season, 48 million shoppers reportedly engaged in showrooming, which means that Amazon alone received 27.36 million showroomers who redirected from brick-and-mortar stores to the online service in search of lower, more competitive pricing. This is, in part, due to the large number of Amazon Prime members, who have access to free two-day shipping; it’s also due to knowledge about pricing. For instance, Amazon’s prices on electronic items are, generally speaking, 17% lower than Best Buy – so it’s easy to see why a consumer would test a product in the store and take a 17% discount with free 48-hour shipping with a Prime membership. That said, price matching initiatives taken by stores to combat this practice seem to be working, as 68% of consumers will check a store’s price matching policy before taking their business online, and 95% of customers day that free shipping offers influence a purchasing decision. 

Best Buy Claims To Kill ‘Showrooming’

Best Buy believes that its latest policy shift will destroy the now-common practice of “showrooming” in its stores. On March 3rd, stores will display all local retail competitors prices, along with 19 “major online competitors” in all product categories. This comes on the heels of Best Buy’s temporary price-matching initiative that debuted during the holiday season, and after its apparent success the retailer is making the shift permanent. Showrooming is a growing worry for electronics stores, as the practice effects sales of gadgets and devices more than any other category. Price matching for Best Buy will include major competitors such as Amazon, Apple, Newegg, OfficeDepot, Staples, and Target. 

Leap Motion Partners With Best Buy, Asus

When this video of Leap Motion’s motion sensing technology came out, there was plenty of buzz from the tech community and rightly so. Based on the demo, Leap Motion appeared to be a game changer for gesture controls, enabling a level of sophistication previously reserved for the keyboard. But how would it perform under real world settings? What are some of the applications? How will it affect UI? While many of these questions are largely unanswered–Leap Motion is still only accepting preorders–we now know that they are looking for mainstream adoption thanks to a recent partnership with Best Buy. According to Techcrunch, the startup will now be selling their Leap controller on their site and Best Buy in addition to shipping it with new Asus PCs in 2013.

Connected devices get some Best Buy love

According to a report from ABI Research, Best Buy is planning to set up displays in store to showcase devices connected to the Internet (TV’s, Set-top boxes and blue ray players).  The hope is that with a bit of education, consumer adoption will get a push, lighting sales in all areas of Internet driven electronics.  According to ABI, Internet connected living room devices are expected to become a mainstream feature in 2013, with 19% of all flat panels shipping this year to showcase Ethernet.  Of course, we’ve all been to Best Buy displays where they don’t work or the sales staff knows less about the features then today’s educated consumer, but what will all this mean to marketers?

As the hardware evolves, so will the software and the business models that push content through those new applications.  You can imagine a world in the near future where televisions last longer because the renewed focus on hardware and CPU capabilities pushes for an improvement on overall system performance.  In these scenarios, you really will be asking, what’s the chip inside?  And an entire generation of people will grow up with never experiencing the separation of broadband from broadcast. Continue reading “Connected devices get some Best Buy love”

Holiday shopping gets social

blackfridayFacebookRetailers and sellers looking for innovative ways to reach their customers this holiday season are looking towards social media as an emerging marketing and business tool.  According to a study by, almost half of retailers surveyed said they would increase their use of social media this holiday season. So it’s no surprise that to kick off the season, retailers from Best Buy to Barney’s used social networking sites on Black Friday to tell eager shoppers about bargains, discuss purchases, and help solve customer service issues.

Retailers continue to use contests and sweepstakes to help drum up holiday shopping excitement. Sears held a Facebook sweepstakes for lucky customers to win gift cards and buy items at Black Friday prices early. Continue reading “Holiday shopping gets social”